Climate Change Researcher James Hansen Becomes a Full-Time Activist

James HansenCredit: NASAClimate change researcher James Hansen, the long-time head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is retiring from government employment to campaign for policies that he believes must be adopted to avoid impending catastrophic global warming, reports the New York Times. Back in 1988, on a blistering hot DC day in June, Hansen testimony at a Congressional hearing brought man-made global warming to the broader public's attention. Skeptics have questioned just how accurate Hansen's 1988 predictions have turned out to be:

Not so fastCredit: Skeptical Science

On the other hand, the Times reports:

Since the day he spoke, not a single month’s temperatures have fallen below the 20th-century average for that month. Half the world’s population is now too young to have lived through the last colder-than-average month, February 1985.

In worldwide temperature records going back to 1880, the 19 hottest years have all occurred since his testimony.

To his credit, Hansen does not see man-made global warming as an excuse for growing the size and scope of government. As the Times notes:

For all his battles with conservatives, however, he has also been hard on environmentalists. He was a harsh critic of a failed climate bill they supported in 2009, on the grounds that it would have sent billions into the federal government’s coffers without limiting emissions effectively.

Dr. Hansen agrees that a price is needed on carbon dioxide emissions, but he wants the money returned to the public in the form of rebates on tax bills. “It needs to be done on the basis of conservative principles — not one dime to make the government bigger,” said Dr. Hansen, who is registered as a political independent.

More recently, Hansen has admitted that increases in global average temperatures have been halted for the last sixteen years. He argues that the rise must resume, but we shall see. In the meantime, other climate researchers are suggesting that the sensitivity of the climate to loading up the atmosphere with more carbon dioxide is somewhat less than many climate models have assumed.

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  • some guy||

    Hey Ron, can you remind us what those three scenarios are? Or at least provide a link to an explanation?

    I'm wondering if they are based on "uncertainties" in the physical models, uncertainties in the actions of humans or based on specific policy actions that were proposed in '88.

    Thanks.

  • ||

    Couldn't be the models, as ALL the models predicted the 16 year stall. I think they ALL say the rise will pick up again next year, at which point we are doomed.

    DOOMED I SAY!

  • Ron Bailey||

    sg: I have now included a link to the Skeptical Science blog which bills itself as "getting skeptical of global warming skepticism." The chart in my post is from that site because I think it the fact that it shows that Hansen's prediction were too high bolsters the point.

  • tarran||

    Be careful linking to Sceptical Science (which is neither very skeptical or scientifically minded IMHO); they have a bad habit of significantly rewriting their pages to make themselves look better while providing no documentation.

    My recommendation is to stay away from them as a source given their utter unreliability and demonstrated cluelessness as to how the scientific process works.

  • tarran||

    For any who are curious as to why I think John Cook and the other inmates at Credulous Superstitions are not worth bothering with:

    Shub Niggurath's withering and devastating analysis of John Cook's Orwellian deletion and rewriting of critical comments on his blog.

    And, or course, their superstitious credulity was in full display over the Lewandowsky affair, the laughably pathetic paper that sought to prove that people who disagreed with Cook were nuts.

  • tarran||

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Skeptical Science is a clowny echo chamber. I made an account on there to post comments, not muckrakey nasty shit either, just to go in and ask some questions etc.

    I made it three posts in before all my comments were scrubbed and I was banned, and I dont mean my account - my IP got banned. Its like the People's Proxy over there, just a joke.

  • Brett L||

    From RB's link:

    Scenario A assumed continued exponential greenhouse gas growth. Scenario B assumed a reduced linear rate of growth, and Scenario C assumed a rapid decline in greenhouse gas emissions around the year 2000.

    As you can see from here emissions per capita are pretty flat for the last 30 years, although there were about 6B people in the world then, and there are about 7B now, so we're talking a 15% increase in total emissions. So Scenario B is probably the closest emissions scenario to today.

  • some guy||

    I see now. Thanks. I figured 1988-Hansen would be policy agnostic and would just focus on emissions models, but wanted to be sure.

    (Of course the scenarios wouldn't represent different physical models. The science is settled for chrissakes! What do I think this is, weather modeling?)

  • TheZeitgeist||

    Sounds like Hansen is going in for his payday - I wonder whose payroll he will wind up on? MSNBC 'contributor' sugar awaits I am sure.

  • OldMexican||

    Climate change researcher James Hansen, the long-time head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is retiring from government employment to campaign for policies that he believes must be adopted to avoid impending catastrophic global warming, reports the New York Times.


    Yet our resident idiot (Tony) still argues that the issue was politicized by "conservatives" and "deniers."

    To his credit, Hansen does not see man-made global warming as an excuse for growing the size and scope of government.


    He still sees it as an excuse to have his favorite economic "solutions" implemented by force. What does that tell you? That he's a nice guy? I place him right alongside people of his ilk: statists, thieves and extorsionists.

  • ||

    and scope of government.

    I fail to see how government telling people how much they have to pay for something and telling sellers they have to charge and track special new taxes and taking on the role of redistributing the revenue from those new taxes is not increasing the scope of government.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    He argues that the rise must resume

    Of course the MUST. What's he going to do with his time if they don't. Think of all the unemployed scientists. Why do you hate scientists, nature?

  • Mike M.||

    Ha-ha, the schmuck knows that the game is pretty much up for the lying global warning huckster con artists. Even in silly Europe, more and more people are recognizing what a bunch of bullcrap it all is with each passing day.

    Good riddance pal; I feel a little better today knowing that we no longer have to pay you your undeserved salary.

  • Brett L||

    Yeah, now we just get to pay his pension.

  • Mike M.||

    Damn, and now my day is ruined.

  • Brett L||

    Good. Maybe GISS will get someone who gives a shit about the science and not his own reputation. Hansen is an egotistical asshole. I wish the Bush administration had silenced him, as he complained they did.

  • mememine69||

    You believers need to know what’s behind a headline instead of just fear mongering and wishing and wanting this misery to be real for our children:
    -The world of science is willing to say a comet hit is real; but they are not willing to say a climate crisis from Human CO2 is as real as a comet hit. MAYBE is good enough?
    -Science has never agreed any crisis WILL happen or is inevitable like comet hits are.
    -Climate change’s effects amount to a comet hit of an emergency.
    -Science gave us pesticides.
    -Find us one single IPCC warning that is without "maybes" and "could bes" and.... “Help my house could be on fire maybe?”
    -Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets ruled by corporations and trustworthy politicians.

  • some guy||

    Cool story, bro. You kind of lost me at the middle bullet, though.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    In the meantime, other climate researchers are suggesting that the sensitivity of the climate to loading up the atmosphere with more carbon dioxide is somewhat less than many climate models have assumed.

    And yet others, at NASA no less, argue that warmists, specifically Hansen, are full of shit and backs it up with extensive datasets showing such.

    A recent NASA report throws the space agency into conflict with its climatologists after new NASA measurements prove that carbon dioxide acts as a coolant in Earth's atmosphere.
    NASA's Langley Research Center has collated data proving that “greenhouse gases” actually block up to 95 percent of harmful solar rays from reaching our planet, thus reducing the heating impact of the sun. The data was collected by Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry, (or SABER). SABER monitors infrared emissions from Earth’s upper atmosphere, in particular from carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO), two substances thought to be playing a key role in the energy balance of air above our planet’s surface.

    (cont)

  • mad libertarian guy||

    NASA's Langley Research Center instruments show that the thermosphere not only received a whopping 26 billion kilowatt hours of energy from the sun during a recent burst of solar activity, but that in the upper atmospheric carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide molecules sent as much as 95% of that radiation straight back out into space.

    The shock revelation starkly contradicts the core proposition of the so-called greenhouse gas theory which claims that more CO2 means more warming for our planet. However, this compelling new NASA data disproves that notion and is a huge embarrassment for NASA's chief climatologist, Dr James Hansen and his team over at NASA's GISS.

    Already, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been in full retreat after having to concede a 17-year stall in global warming despite levels of atmopheric CO2 rising almost 40 percent in recent decades. The new SABER data now forms part of a real world double whammy against climatologists' computer models that have always been programmed to show CO2 as a warming gas.

    The SABER evidence also makes a mockery of the statement on the NASA GISS website (by Hansen underling Gavin Schmidt) claiming, "the greenhouse effect keeps the planet much warmer than it would be otherwise."
  • Brett L||

    MLG,

    When Anthony Watts is debunking this, I'd say it isn't a game changer.

    Yes, of course the upper atmosphere is going to deflect and re-radiate the energy of solar storms, that’s why we don’t burn to a cinder when they happen. There’s nothing new here, this is what the upper atmosphere (thermosphere) does. CO2 (and other greenhouse gases – GHG’s) in the lower atmosphere also re-radiates long wave infra red energy (LWIR) as backradiation coming up from the surface of the Earth as it dumps the shortwave solar energy absorbed returns as LWIR (heat) and makes its way to the top of the atmosphere.

  • PapayaSF||

    Eh, not so fast on that one. Even AGW skeptics are calling shenanigans.

  • Brett L||

    Too slow!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    My bad!

    It almost sounded too good to be true.

    But in any case, that NASA would come up with this set of data, even if it isn't as accurate as some might think, should be emphatic evidence that the science sure as fuck isn't settled.

  • ||

    MLG

    No offense, I'm a AGW skeptic, but anyone who would claim

    NEW DISCOVERY: NASA STUDY PROVES CARBON DIOXIDE COOLS ATMOSPHERE

    (emphasis mine)

    is equally suspicious. I went to the Principia Scientific homepage and it reads like a conspiracy theorist's bible.

  • ||

    Sorry for piling on.

  • tarran||

    Don't be... those sky-dragon guys are just as nuts as the CAGW crowd, and the nuts can cause real harm if not sufficiently vigorously opposed.

  • mememine69||

    -Almost all research into climate blame over the last 27 years was into effects, not causes. Prove me wrong.
    - Upon settlement of North America these poor little Polar Bears were indigenous to as far south as Minnesota but called the yellow bear (summer coat), but still the same bear.
    --How many climate blame believers (or scientists) did it take to change a light bulb? Answer; None but they did have full consensus that it would change, maybe.
    - The only crisis you remaining climate blame believers have to worry about is picturing how your grandkids will explain your flippant CO2 death threats to them and billions of other children you had condemned to your greenhouse gas ovens with such childish glee. And all to make sure they stay environmentally aware and turned those friggin lights out more often.

  • ||

    Upon settlement of North America these poor little Polar Bears were indigenous to as far south as Minnesota but called the yellow bear (summer coat), but still the same bear.

    Grizzly, Kodiak and Polar bears are all the same species.

  • mememine69||

    Anybody else up for boycotting Reason and their fear mongering of the climate blame exaggeration?

  • Lost_In_Translation||

    apparently not you.

    For a magazine called...

  • Bee Tagger||

    How will you know if we joined you?

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    What the hell is it that you're trying to say. I had to read your posts a few times just to be able to tell what side you're on. I THINK I read correctly and that you are anti-AGW, but making sense of your stream of thought post made my head hurt.

  • Mike M.||

    I think it's an overreaction to boycott the entire publication just because one of their writers has a strange obsession with this non-issue.

    If I didn't boycott back when that lying piece of crap Weigel was smearing Ron Paul and flacking for Obama during the '08 election, I'm not going to boycott over this silliness.

  • tarran||

    I think he must have decided that the paltry income he gets from his Nasa salary was not worth the risk it was causing given his lucrative income from the speaking circuit:

    NASA records released to resolve litigation filed by the American Tradition Institute reveal that Dr. James E. Hansen, an astronomer, received approximately $1.6 million in outside, direct cash income in the past five years for work related to — and, according to his benefactors, often expressly for — his public service as a global warming activist within NASA.

    This does not include six-figure income over that period in travel expenses to fly around the world to receive money from outside interests. As specifically detailed below, Hansen failed to report tens of thousands of dollars in global travel provided to him by outside parties — including to London, Paris, Rome, Oslo, Tokyo, the Austrian Alps, Bilbao, California, Australia and elsewhere, often business or first-class and also often paying for his wife as well — to receive honoraria to speak about the topic of his taxpayer-funded employment, or get cash awards for his activism and even for his past testimony and other work for NASA.
  • tarran||



    Also, he seems to have inappropriately taken between $10,000 and $26,000 for speeches unlawfully promoting him as a NASA employee. This is despite NASA ordering him to return at least some of the money, with the rest apparently unnoticed by NASA. This raises troubling issues about Hansen’s, and NASA’s, compliance with ethics rules, the general prohibition on not privately benefitting from public service, and even the criminal code prohibition on not having one’s public employment income supplemented. All of this lucrative activity followed Hansen ratcheting up his global warming alarmism and activism to be more political which, now to his possible detriment, he has insisted is part of his job. As he cannot receive outside income for doing his job, he has placed himself in peril, assuming the Department of Justice can find a way to be interested in these revelations.
  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    assuming the Department of Justice can find a way to be interested in these revelations

    The only way that is going to happen is if they read the big government part and decide that talk of limiting the government is worse than all the "good" he does with his propaganda.

  • ||

    Since the day he spoke, not a single month’s temperatures have fallen below the 20th-century average for that month. Half the world’s population is now too young to have lived through the last colder-than-average month, February 1985.

    What average? The average that started in the 70s when scientists thought we were entering a new ice age?

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